Top author Val McDermid is making an in-person appearance in Aberdeen as one of the headline names in the WayWORD Festival later this month.
The Queen of Crime will be joined on the line-up for the literary and arts festival by the likes of writers Irvine Welsh, AL Kennedy, Leila Aboulela and Alex Wheatrle and musician Karine Polwart.
WayWORD, running at various venues from September 19 to 26, boasts 40 events with topics as diverse as poetry, music, comedy, dance, painting and playwright.
Festival Director, Dr Helen Lynch said the student and youth-led event – first held last year as part of the University of Aberdeen’s 525th anniversary – truly has something for everyone.
“It’s fantastic to be back I think we’ve got a really wonderful programme this year with 47 events, a mixture of online and in-person events,” said Helen, from the University’s School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture.”
Val McDermid has new stories to tell
While the festival has performers from more than 15 countries – with 12 different languages and dialects – there is little doubt that Val McDermid will be a highlight when she speaks at the Arts Lecture Theatre at Kings College campus on Saturday September 25.
Helen said: “We are really excited to have Val here. She has a new novel out, called 1979, the first of a new series with central character Allie Burns, so she is coming up to talk about that and answer questions from the audience.
“She has emerged from lockdown with new stories to tell, so that is very exciting to hear about.”
WayWORD – which highlights “unconventional forms of expression” – will also feature an online discussion with Irvine Welsh and Alan Warner about their collaboration on a new book, The Seal Club.
Other authors taking part in the festival online include Scottish writer AL Kennedy, “Brixton Bard” and young adult author Alex Wheatle and Saltire Fiction Book of the Year Award winner Leila Aboulela.
The festival offers a rich music strand, including bothy ballads, Gaelic songs and a session with folk legend Karine Polwart talking about her work in an online session on Friday September 24.
Poetry, storytelling, comedy and song
And the festival will offer an in-person event, North-East Voices, at the Blue Lamp on Wednesday September 22.
Helen said: “It’s a night of poetry, storytelling, comedy and song , featuring Iona Fyfe and Michael Biggins, Skippinish’s Norrie MacIver, Sheena Blackhall, Shane Strachan and Noon Salah Eldin, at an iconic venue. It’s all in the one night, in the one place, with something for everyone.”
The evening will also feature the premiere of a short film featuring Sheena Blackhall by French filmmaker Anais Fourrier, one of four she has made following north-east storytellers.
Other highlights of the festival include Dan Schreiber, host of the UK’s most listened-to podcast, No Such Thing As Fish, discussing writing and producing comedy, a tribute to Aberdeen-born writer Nan Shepherd and University of Aberdeen graduate and New York Times best-selling author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé discussing her ground-breaking young adult novel, Ace Of Spades.
How to get tickets for WayWORD
And in a nod to the British Art Show, artist Abigail Reynolds will be appearing to discuss her work Elliptical Reading, which is on display at Aberdeen Central Library – the city’s only BAS9 venue outwith Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Helen said the festival, organised by students and young people from across the city with guidance and mentoring from university staff, is free to book both in-person and online, with live events also streaming.
She said: “WayWORD festival is a way of accessing new experiences, and feeling the buzz of creative arts of whatever but also getting to experience a little bit of creativity in yourself, how you can start to access that and how you might do it yourself.”
To find out more about WayWORD and book events, visit waywordfestival.com